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Blog #1: An Overview of Astronomy Apps

Today, we are going to explore a popular, modern, and convenient means of exploring our universe, stargazing apps. Available on the Apple App Store (iOS) and the Google Play store (Android), these apps use a multitude of information our mobile devices take in, including location (GPS or Wi-Fi), date and time, compass direction, and gyroscopic information so that your mobile device knows when and where it is, how it is oriented, and where it is pointing, so that it can show you a “virtual map” of any part of the sky, with labeled information about each star, planet, object, etc. In addition, mobile internet access allows users of these stargazing apps to access a virtually infinite bank of astronomical information and data, making the use of these apps an excellent educational experience. These apps are creating a revolution in astronomy, allowing anyone to learn more about stars, galaxies, planets, nebulae, and more, without needing to buy an expensive telescope or work at NASA. Many of the simpler astronomy apps are free, with the more expensive ones providing highly refined user interfaces and large amounts of relevant astronomical data, creating an immersive and complete mobile stargazing experience for the amateur to the pro. Astronomy apps are an excellent way to learn more about our universe, and to explore our solar system from anywhere by simply using your mobile device.

Source: space.com – mobile stargazing

20120410skysafari1

above: SkySafari, a popular astronomy app

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